"Yellow Submarine" surfaces with a sharp, colorful presentation for Blu-ray. The 4K restoration for the film looks brilliant and is a huge upgrade when compared to the original 1999 DVD. I haven't seen the DVD remastered edition of this put out at the same time but I would imagine it uses the same high def source. The painstaking restoration for the film is evident in just about every frame which is brimming with more a sharper, more detailed image and colors that positively pop.
The Beatles (none of the band provided their own voices) are recruited to help overthrow the Blue Meanies when they take over Pepperland by Fred who is going to transport the Fab Four in his Yellow Submarine. Things go awry along the way as Ringo gets launched out of the sub, they meet Jeremy a Nowhere Man who finds helps them free Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band from being kept captive by the music hating Blue Meanies. A truly surreal adventure as Jon Lassiter points out in his introduction in the booklet, "Yellow Submarine" truly was revolutionary in its day and still looks dazzling.
Image quality is top notch with a painstakingly restored image filled with sharper images than previously seen. The film probably has never looked this good even when it was shown in 1968 as film development and projection techniques weren't quite as good back in 1968. In fact restoration efforts can often reveal flaws in a film as the resolution is so much better than before. The aspect ratio returns the film to its original 1.66:1 presentation (vs. 1.68:1 for the previous DVD and 1.33:1 for the VHS as I recall).
The lossless audio is marvelous sounding.
The special features include a 16 page booklet with behind-the-scenes photos and comments, mini-seri-cels (that resemble the animation cels although smaller and with each Beatle in one of the iconic moments from the film)of each of the four Beatles and stickers. Audio Commentary by John Coates and additional contribution by Heinz Edelmann
Vintage featurette: The Mod Odyssey (7:40), we also get three storyboarded sequences - including two not used in the final film:* Sea of Monsters (4:21),Battle of the Monsters (Interactive), Pepperland (Interactive),Original pencil drawings (8:33), Behind-the-scenes photo gallery as well as interviews with crew and vocal talents: Paul Angelis (voice) (1:39), John Clive (voice) (2:04), David Livesey (key animation) - 1:13, Millicent MacMillan (1:14), Jack Stokes (3:44), Eric Segal (1:38), Theatrical Trailer (3:45)
16 page booklet, reproductions of animation cells of each of the four Beatles characters + stickers
Missing is the music only audio track that was on the previous DVD which is too bad but we do get the original mono soundtrack as well plus a stereo PCM mastered track.
This is a terrific reissue that is flawed only by missing the original music only track in 5.1 like the original DVD. It would also have been nice if the MTV Special (or was it VH1?) that was shown back in 1999 had been included or the BBC documentary but evidently Apple chose not to license either for this release. Even though it doesn't have everything it could have, this is highly recommended due to the stellar image and sound quality.
on June 7, 2012
This is an excellent transfer of the film. I've owned the VHS version, the DVD, and now the Blu-ray. Without question the Blu-ray with its remastered video is a revelation. Colors are better, the picture is the sharpest its ever been and the music is well, still the Beatles which means if you're a fan it's a no-brainer. This is the same version as the DVD which means it includes "Hey Bulldog" and a few other minor changes from the VHS release. The audio is available in both a new HD surround track or the original film version.
The movie itself is very simple but wonderfully weird as it involves freeing Pepperland from the clutches of the "Blue Meanies", with numerous Beatles songs along the way. If you like the Beatles, psychedelic animation, or cultural artifacts from the 1960's this is a great buy.
on June 12, 2012
This is a review of the 2012 Blu-Ray release of Yellow Submarine, not a movie review (you can find those elsewhere all over the web). This is the complete movie, as was the 1999 release. Just to compare; this release was visually at least as much of an improvement over the 1999 release as that release was over all of it's predecessors, if not more. Not surprising since the entire film was cleaned and repaired manually cell by cell.
MOVIE VIDEO: The picture is so nice it is hard to believe. Having only seen the movie on the various home video releases over the last 25 or so years, I have never seen this movie look this good. I know how bright the colors in various stills and even the 1968 comic book were, but I had no idea that the movie colors actually matched or even surpassed that vividness. All of the animation looked perfect. The only flaws I could find (specifically looking for flaws, that is) were a very few occasional wobbles in some standing images and the only light pixilation on the entire disk was during the gradient fade up from black during sunrise in Liverpool leading into Eleanor Rigby. To me, that is absolutely acceptable. The actual Beatle footage at he end was still a bit grainy, but I consider that to be very acceptable as well. There is only so much that can be done with poor quality filmstock of live action, at least at this time, and this portion still looks just fantastic compared to any other release of Yellow Submarine.
MOVIE AUDIO: The 5.1 and mono mixes themselves sound exactly the same as the 1999 release, but both are now lossless audio. I don't know if they did any new tweaking or reworking for this release or not, but it sounds as grand as you would expect a Beatles product to sound, and both sound very clean and crisp. I have not listened to the running movie commentary at all yet.
BONUS FEATURES: All of the 1999 release features are here. The interview footage looks pretty poor, having been recorded on video in the pre-HD days. However; all of the bonus feature animation footage, including the entire original trailer and all the animation in the "Mod Odyssey" documentary, has been cleaned so the quality matches that of the movie. As for new features; as listed on the packaging there are three storyboard sequences, two of which are alternate scenes from very early pre-production. This is especially nice because we can finally see the story around The Beatles riding the birds dropped clip that was in the above mentioned Mod Odyssey documentary. Sadly, that the snippet in Mod Odyssey seems to be the only existing footage of this, as no more was included here. There are also some original pencil drawings and behind the scenes photos which are interesting to fanatics like me.
PACKAGING: Cardboard - digipack style packaging. I am not a fan of this style because it is so hard to keep these in good shape over time with normal handling and shelf-ware, but overall it does look very nice. Glad to have almost the original poster design back as the cover, but in person it looks a bit dark (not as clean and bright looking as the picture here on Amazon). Not a big deal to me, only making an observation, but it is very noticeable. The booklet is very nice with additional photos and artwork and some international poster art shown. There are also some reproduction cells of each of The Beatles and a small page of stickers. Very nice little extras for a standard edition.
OVERALL: if you are a fan of this movie, this is an unquestionable must for your collection. Unlike most re-releases, this is worth every cent of re-purchase.
This new 2012 DVD release of Yellow Submarine is advertised as having been lovingly restored frame by frame to ensure the best picture quality since it was first shown in theaters so many years ago. As for the movie itself, if you're a Beatles or animation fan (or hopefully both) and have never seen this film then you owe it to yourself to do so. The Peter Max-esque artwork is spectacular fantasy fun, the script is highly amusing, and the Beatles music chosen for the film sounds as good today as when it was new. Though the Beatles had little to do directly with the film and their voices are impersonated till the live footage of them singing recorded for the end of the film their sensibilities are all over this project and they did compose three new (at the time) songs for the film, all of them terrific. I can't recommend this movie enough and it's very "family friendly" if you are looking for something fantastic to enthrall your children and introduce them to the music of the Beatles. I saw it in the theater when I was a small child and jumped on buying it on VHS when it was first released. That VHS copy of Yellow Submarine was the most watched movie in our house when our son was very young and I never got tired of it no matter how many times he wanted to watch it. A good thing since he watched it countless times. Now I'm looking forward to this newly restored version on DVD.
According to announcements on The Beatles' official website the film has been restored in 4K digital resolution by Paul Rutan Jr. and his team of specialists at Triage Motion Picture Services and Eque Inc. Since the hand-drawn original artwork is quite delicate they have used no automated software in the digital clean-up of the film's restored photochemical elements. All the work was all done by hand, frame by frame.
Bonus features for the Yellow Submarine DVD and Blu-ray include a short making-of documentary titled "Mod Odyssey" (TRT: 7:30), the original Yellow Submarine theatrical trailer, audio commentary with producer John Coates and art director Heinz Edelmann, some brief interview clips with other people associated with the film, storyboard sequences, 29 original pencil drawings plus 30 behind-the-scenes photos. Both Digipak sets will include reproductions of animation cels from the film, collectible stickers, and a 16-page booklet with a new essay by Yellow Submarine aficionado John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios).
on June 6, 2012
While I am not a great fan of the film itself, it is still an eye-opening return to the 1960s of Peter Max (and would have been a lot more fun if the Beatles had contributed their voices to the dialogue sections).
The picture has been beautifully restored by hand, frame by frame. The colors are amazing!!!
The audio is stirring! The first thing you notice about the 5.1 track is how clean it is. The only other time I have come across such great audio on Beatles' songs was with the DVD soundtrack accompanying the CD of The Beatles Love (Cirque du Soleil).
The special features on the disc are an odd assortment. There are some pencil drawings, storyboard sequences, some behind-the-scene photos of the Beatles, a feature-length commentary, and a few other extras. The odd part of the extras section are the video interviews with some of the voice talent and other people involved in the production. For some reason, most only run about a minute. Why they limited it to that short a length is a puzzle.
The Blu disc is in one-half of a folder. The other half is a pocket containing four repro film cels of the Beatles ( a neat item). There is also a small sheet of 10 decals. A nice item in the pouch is a sixteen-page booklet with photos, drawings, and text (regretably, the text is so tiny that it makes a contract's "small print" look enormous in comparison.
on June 20, 2012
I purchased Yellow Submarine, anticipating a substantial restoration, being the care taken with upgrading the Beatles music, as the restoration employed 4k, and DTS HD audio. Even with the bar set high, I sat, astounded by the result as I watched this film on my 55" LED. This presentation is as an impressionistic painting came to life. According to the films addendum restoration credit, the restoration was completed frame -by frame, and is comparable to Criterion releases and superior to most High Definition remastered classics.
Let us not forget the films audio. The soundtrack employs all the care that any Beatles commodity deserves. The Beatle classics, as well as George Martin compositions envelop the viewer, not by overkill, but rather by complementing the film. My audio equipment, for watching video is a sound bar with subwoofer, using a fiber optic connection. By far, it is the best sounding Blu-Ray that I own.
The content of the film is appropriate for all ages, although the dialogue offers a few double entendre's for a mature viewers. It is nothing objectionable, just a few comments that may go over most kid's (and some adults) heads.
This film is for the generations! Enjoy!
on September 2, 2012
My review will most likely be a lone, dissenting voice but I think it is worth recording.
By way of a disclaimer, I saw this movie in 1968 when I was 7 years old, when it came out in the movie theaters. I remember being surrounded by a lot of long-haired people who were smoking in a very large theater somewhere on the West Side of New York. It has always been and remains one of my very favorite films ever.
I bought the Blu-ray disc pre-order and did not watch it until tonight about two months later. At first I had set the audio preset to two channels stereo but had to switch midstream to the mono for the following reasons. There is also another point I will make:
First, the sound effects, including the music are mixed way higher than the voices speaking in the film. That means the volume has to be set very high to hear the dialogue, which means the music and sound effects volume will literally blast you out of your seat. We had to turn off the stereo and listen on the TV speakers because it was ear-shattering and I could not disturb my neighbors. The balance between volume levels is acceptable on the original monaural mix, meaning that the music and sound effects once again do not overwhelm the dialogue.
Another, sad complaint I think is that on my 720 dpi Samsung 32 inch screen the digital remaster of the print is just too hard edged. One comment I made to my friend was that it looked like it was re-mastered on a different drug than it was originally produced on. The eye-popping colors, hard edges and super-sharp images in my opinion detract from the softer, more "user-friendly" analog version I have seen over the years. I have never taken DMT but this is what I imagine it must be like, it was so pronounced it basically gave me a headache to watch.
In all, I feel they over-produced this master, both by focusing so hard on the audio to the detriment of the dialogue, which is lost in the mix, and the super-sharp rendition of animation that were clearly hand-drawn etc.
The music, however, is masterfully produced and when the songs come on it is all glory.
As I said, this is likely a minority opinion but I would have preferred something a little truer to the conception of the film where it just seemed softer and more accessible, truly a peaceful spirit in the film which I feel is lost in this blu-ray remaster, maybe that is the nature of Blu-ray, but in an animated film you really see the difference and I not 100% pleased.
As a matter of fact, if I could I would exchange it for an earlier reproduction where I feel I could watch the film without the associated angst.
Thanks for sharing.
on June 5, 2012
"Yellow Submarine" is without question my favorite animated movie of all time, and as Robert Zemeckis' mo-cap retool was 86'd it was gratifying to know that Apple was re-releasing the one and only "Sub." The visuals and sound are as good as ever. But what keeps me from giving this five stars is that it's the 1999 edition all over again, with the Beatles and Sgt. Pepper's band rubbing elbows and the "Hey Bulldog" sequence. The original take, last released to home video on October 20, 1987, had the first verse of "Baby You're A Rich Man" and a thirty second or so sequence of the Meanies' failed attempt to quash the boys' counterattack. Some good business sense would have been to include the sequence among the DVD's special features or as an alternate edition of the movie. On the other hip, it's got even more special features than the 1999 release, including an interview with co-scripter Erich Segal (who had been believed to be the movie's main writer--Jack Mendelsohn did the first approved screenplay and Segal was brought in to punch it up). For the kids of today who hadn't seen it yet, though, "Submarine" is a must.
on May 14, 2012
I was overjoyed to see the slim black bars on the sides of the widescreen picture when the movie started playing!
For years this movie has been cropped one way or another, now we can see the full picture.
The old VHS & Laserdisc "center-cut" the picture, cropping off the sides to make a 1:33-1 frame.
Then the first "restored" DVD release (and also a second laserdisc release) chopped off the top & bottom slightly to present the film in 1:85-1 ratio.
Finally this Blu-ray presentation crops off nothing and gives us the full 1:66-1 ratio picture!
To see what we were missing in the past, just look at the 1:33-1 full frame bonus documentary "Mod Odyssey", the full frame clips show what has been missing on TV & video for many years.
Then compare the old DVD to this and see what was cut off from the top & bottom.
I'm glad that all of the original bonus material from the first DVD is presented here, but a little disappointed that there is nothing really new.
on June 14, 2012
Even if, like me, you're not the biggest Beatles fan in the universe, the 1968 "Yellow Submarine" remains an utter delight. Made to finish off a contractual obligation to United Artists - by which point, in the late `60s, the Beatles were no longer interested in making movies - the psychedelic feature finds John, Paul, Ringo and George whisked away from England in order to save the magical undersea kingdom of "Pepperland." There, the music-loving inhabitants are under attack from the "Blue Meanies," who have turned the citizens into statues. It's up to the Beatles along with "Old Fred" and his Yellow Submarine to restore color, music and life back to Pepperland, traveling through strange and surreal lands along the way.
"Yellow Submarine" was produced by King Features and producer Al Brodax, who previously packaged a Saturday morning "Beatles" cartoon for ABC that was fairly plastic in its animation. The Beatles themselves, reportedly, stayed away from the movie during most of its production for that reason - only when they saw what was being worked on did they change their minds, agreeing to appear in a live-action sequence at the end and contributing new as well as previously-recorded songs to the soundtrack ("Eleanor Rigby," "All Together Now," "Nowhere Man," "When I'm Sixty-Four," "All You Need Is Love," "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "Sgt. Pepper" are just a few of the tunes to appear throughout). Brodax, director George Dunning and his animation team keep the movie fresh and perfectly suited to repeat viewing, with each song acting like its own set-piece, and constantly changing, eye-popping colors and eclectic design keeping both kids and adults stimulated. It's an all-time animated classic that has lost none of its appeal over the years.
Making its debut on Blu-Ray (as well as a new DVD edition) from Capitol Records/EMI, "Yellow Submarine" looks great and sounds absolutely spectacular. The DTS MA 5.1 audio is just amazing - the songs echoing into every speaker of the sound field and carrying a dynamic range that makes it one of the most effective home theater mixes I've ever heard. Though the movie's original mono mix and a PCM stereo track have also been included, neither compare to the brilliant sound design of the DTS MA mix. Visually, the AVC encoded transfer is also impressive, preserving the picture's original 1.66 aspect ratio and offering a gorgeous pallet of colors. Suffice to say, "Yellow Submarine" is one of the best looking and sounding discs I've yet seen in the format.
Extra features aren't overwhelming, but will come as welcome inclusions for fans. In addition to a full color booklet and collectible lithographs, the most insightful supplement is a commentary track from producer John Coates with some comments from animator Heinz Edelmann, whose visual designs for the Beatles themselves proved to be the lead inspiration for the project. There's a theatrical trailer (that seems to have been "re-created" using HD footage), a vintage featurette "Mod Odyssey," storyboard sequences, pencil drawings, behind the scenes photos, and very short (mostly 1-2 minute) interviews with Paul Angelis and John Clive (who voiced Ringo and John, respectively), animator David Livesey, Edelmann assistant Millicent McMillan, animation director Jack Strokes, and co-writer Erich Segal, who notched one of his first commercial successes a few years before his script for "Love Story" became a national phenomenon.